This important volume documents events and routines defined as public relations practice, and serves as a companion work to the author's The Unseen Power: Public Relations which tells the history of public relations as revealed in the work and personalities of the pioneer agencies.
This history opens with the 17th Century efforts of land promoters and colonists to lure settlers from Europe -- mainly England -- to this primitive land along the Atlantic Coast. They used publicity, tracts, sermons, and letters to disseminate rosy, glowing accounts of life and opportunity in the new land. The volume closes with a description of the public relations efforts of colleges and other non-profit agencies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thus providing a bridge across the century line.
This study of the origins of public relations provides helpful insight into its functions, its strengths and weaknesses, and its profound though often unseen impact on our society. Public relations or its equivalents -- propaganda, publicity, public information -- began when mankind started to live together in tribal camps where one's survival depended upon others of the tribe. To function, civilization requires communication, conciliation, consensus, and cooperation -- the bedrock fundamentals of the public relations function.
This volume is filled with robust public struggles -- the struggles of which history is made and a nation built:
* the work of the Revolutionaries, led by the indomitable Sam Adams, to bring on the War of Independence that gave birth to a New Nation;
* the propaganda of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in the Federalist papers to win ratification of the U.S. Constitution -- prevailing against the propaganda of the AntiFederalists led by Richard Henry Lee;
* the battle between the forces of President Andrew Jackson, led by Amos Kendall, and those of Nicholas Biddle and his Bank of the United States which presaged corporate versus government campaigns common today:
* the classic presidential campaign of 1896 which pitted pro-Big Business candidate William McKinley against the Populist orator of the Platte, William Jennings Bryan.
This book details the antecedents of today's flourishing, influential vocation of public relations whose practitioners -- some 150,000 professionals -- make their case for their clients or their employers in the highly competitive public opinion marketplace.
"This book is the culmination of [Cutlip's] efforts, and it succeeds in its purpose of describing the strategies and tactics of opinion management utilized in the United States long before the growth of public relations as an occupation….The strength of the book lies in Cutlip's broad-ranging selection of topic areas. He covers not only such familiar territory as railroad advertising and circus publicity but also such unexplored areas as political campaigning."
—The Journal of American History
Contents: Preface. Hype for Colonies, Colleges, and the Frontier. Propaganda Gives Birth to a New Nation. "Greatest Public Relations Work Ever Done." John Beckley: The First Campaign Specialist. Amos Kendall: Andrew Jackson's "Thinking Machine." The Jackson-Biddle Public Relations War. Amos Kendall: Postmaster, Promoter, Philanthropist. "The First Public War." Publicity Moves America West. Press Agentry, Promotion, Advertising Flower in 19th Century. "The Public Be Damned." The Genesis of National Political Campaigns and Government Information. "Advertising Higher Education." Nonprofit Groups See the Need for Public Support. Promoting Social Change. Epilogue.
The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.